The Team Meeting
It is well accepted that you need to have a weekly team meeting to keep everyone on the same page. Depending on organisation size and team responsibilities the cadence may vary, but generally 1 team meeting a week is the minimum to ensure effective communication.
A team can be lost if communication is not effectively being passed down through leadership and management. Without consistent weekly team meetings it is very easy for teams and individuals to drift away from the companies goals and objectives. This becomes even more acute as teams move into Hybrid and Remote working models. Successful team meetings also serve to bolster the teams sense of shared purpose and can energize team members to enjoy their work and avoid it turning into "just a job".
When your meeting cadence has been established, there still can be some confusion as to what we include in the weekly team meeting. In this article we will give you 5 items that you need to cover in every weekly team meeting.
- General Announcements
- Goals & Objectives
- Problems & Solutions
- Wins & Successes
1. General Announcements
Start with any general announcements. These can often be some housekeeping items related to the company but also social news from the team. Things like birthdays, graduations or significant personal milestones like work anniversaries are celebrated together. Additionally, any social team activities like a weekend team hike or planning for an upcoming offsite are all covered in this item.
Example : Toms 50th birthday and the staff gathered together to arrange a gift.
It keeps everyone informed of whats going on in the company and also serves to highlight notable events in peoples personal lives that may go unrecognised in the normal day to day of busy companies.
There is an added benefit to having General Announcements at the start of the meeting. The introduction period of meetings often has the most disruptions with people joining late or mentally adjusting to the meeting. This type of "General" discussion is usually a good use of time and "warm-up" for the more serious discussions to follow.
As always it is important to schedule the time for this into the agenda and stick to it.
Every team member has some job or deliverable that they are responsible for. Team members should be able to show up with progress on their deliverable. This can be simply a quick update verbally, or in the absence of clear goal tracking applications ( like Jira, Asana, Monday etc) encouraging team members to present their progress in a simple visual way can help with collective understanding.
This doesn't mean requiring everyone to make a presentation about their work (this would be counterproductive) - but if they have a single statistic or data set that can be represented in a simple, visually communicative way - this can be a great habit to get into.
Particularly in cross disciplinary teams, simple visual communication can go a long way to help convey complex topics.
Example : Instead of developers reporting 1273 git commits, show a simple graph of the progress towards the completion of a new feature.
3. Goals & Objectives
Macro Goals : If needed, re-establishing and adding any new additional context to overall goals. The team leader will have goals and objectives handed down from senior management and reaffirming these can help remind everyone of the bigger picture.
Micro Goals : Immediate objectives for this week in individuals area of responsibility.
Example : New redesigned webpage for Wednesday, or 3 pieces of blog content by Friday.
Collective targets designated into individual responsibilities.
Once the overall collective objective is clear, we then must break down to individual team members to establish the targets that they need to achieve for the team to stay on track. Team mates will announce to the rest of the group what they are taking responsibility for and the time for when it will be complete.
Keeping track of individual responsibilities is key and can most effectively be done with action items in a shared, accessible document.
4. Problems & Solutions
Every organisation is going to have some difficulties or challenges during the space of a week. Teams will have disagreements, there will be challenges with production servers, some customers will be making complaints - these issues need to be addressed in the weekly Team Meeting.
When dealing with problems, we have a simple rule to ensure that meetings maintain constructive in their criticism, instead of a degrading into negativity and complaining.
Rule : If you bring a problem to the table, you must bring a potential solution.
Example : A designer is frustrated that the details on some designs are being lost during handover to development. Instead of blaming or complaining, raise the issue and suggest we use a better design to development handoff tool to fill this gap.
This way issues are raised and self governed in a constructive way. This is very important for successful teams to grow, build trust and work positively together.
5. Wins & Success
This part can be really fun. Require people to bring a personal success or win to the team meeting. These can help end things on a high.
Example : A glowing customer testimonial video.
We like to make sure we communicate customer feedback to our development teams, because sometimes product teams that don't get to talk with customers, often miss out on hearing the positive feedback about the work they have done. Highlighting successful wins by team members reaffirms their value and shows how they have contributed to the overall purpose of the team. If you are not relying this type of positive feedback from customers it can be easy for team members to to think that they are somehow insignificant and that their job doesn't matter.
Finishing with positivity and success not only makes everyone feel good, but it is a great way to sign off on a weekly team meeting.